Nov 10

The growth of our download numbers and active users

About one month ago we shared our download numbers and we announced the majority of the lightning users are on Thunderbird 3.x. The numbers showed that roughly 75% of our users now used a Thunderbird 3.x. During the last month some things have changed: Even more users have downloaded lightning for Thunderbird and the number of users who use Thunderbird 3.1 has grown.

In this chart you can see that most users are still using Thunderbird 3.0, but the number of users who use Thunderbird 3.1 is steadily growing and it will lead very soon. The number of Lightning users on Thunderbird 3.1 has been growing very fast in the last two months, which shows that Lightning is a great add-on and people just love it as much as we do.
While the number of Thunderbird 3.1 users is growing, the number of Thunderbird 3.0 users has literally collapsed, although the number of Thunderbird 2.0 users is going down very slowly.


In this chart you can see the active daily users of Lightning on Thunderbird. You can see, that the number is still growing, but in the last few weeks the number has been falling a little bit.

That’s all about Lightning – let us move on to Sunbird!

In this chart you can see the active daily Sunbird users. The average is still moving up, but earlier last month the number was moving down for some weeks. This chart explains itself pretty well, so let us move on again…

Sometimes people are still using an outdated version of Sunbird. Although the development of Sunbird has stopped, you are still able to update Sunbird. Now, you may ask how much the daily growth of updates is. In this chart you can clearly see that the numbers are really random…

So, let us finally compare the download growth of Lightning and Sunbird.
You can clearly see that we got more Lightning users on Thunderbird than Sunbird users. While the number of Lightning users is still growing, Sunbird is almost dying. In the 35-day moving average you can see that the download number was rising for a short while, but suddently just dropped again.

Now, what do these numbers mean for us, the calendar software and its future?
To find this out, you need to have some different angles of view on the download numbers: The future of Lightning seems really good so far, while the future of Sunbird looks very dark. But what have we learned from this? Well, we learned lots of things, for example that some users don’t want to use an application for mail and for calendar – they don’t want to use more than one program, they want to use an add-on that brings the calendar-function to Thunderbird, an awesome mail client, while some users prefer using multiple applications.
We also learned that people really like to have the latest version of software installed, although some people just want to stay on the old versions.

The future of our calendar software seems obvious, but even if you take a closer look at it you can’t really predict what the numbers will look like…

Apr 10

Sunbird 1.0 beta1 now available for download (last release of Sunbird)

The Calendar Project is proud to report, that (finally) the 1.0 beta1 release of Sunbird has been completed and is now available via the Sunbird website.

18 months after the 0.9, we’re more than happy to get the nearly 500 bugfixes and improvements into the hands of our users. Notable improvements of this release are:

  • You can now define multiple alarms for a single event
  • CalDAV support and interoperability with various CalDAV servers have been improved
  • The application stability, performance and memory consumption have been improved

Sunbird 1.0 beta1 is available for Windows, Mac OS X (universal builds) Linux 32bit and Linux 64bit in 37 different languages including English. Please read the release notes for Sunbird 1.0 beta1 before downloading.

As previously announced (here, here, here and here) this will be the last release of Sunbird from the Calendar Project. From now on, we will focus our development efforts exclusively on the Lightning add-on and its next release Lightning 1.0 beta2.

Thank you again to all our developers, contributors, localizers, testers, and supporters. We would not be able to do this without your assistance!

Mar 10

Sunbird 1.0b1 release candidate 1 is now available

After quite some build-system related difficulties, we have finally succeeded building Sunbird 1.0b1rc1. Please download and test it within the next 2 weeks, if no critical errors show up this will afterwards become the final version 1.0b1.

Candidate builds for Sunbrid 1.0 beta1 in 37 languages are available as of now for:

A corresponding build of the Google Calendar Provider is available at addons.mozilla.org

Please tell us what you think of these candidate builds and file bugs in Bugzilla as you go.

Feb 10

Short Update on Sunbird 1.0b1

I should have mentioned this in my previous blog post, but I do have a status update for Sunbird 1.0b1:

I have fixed 2 small packager errors yesterday, which now cause the automated builds to actually run. The first builds that succeeded are available on the ftp server, but we need to do another run that contains the second packager fix. If all goes well, gozer will have time to take care of this today, but the Thunderbird 3.0.2 builds have priority.

If all goes well, the upcoming build will become Sunbird 1.0b1 rc1. We will give another two weeks of QA time, if no critical errors show up then this build will become the final

Feb 10

On the state of Sunbird 1.0 beta1

Four weeks ago we released Lightning 1.0 beta1. At the time we also said, that we would make a 1.0 beta1 release available for Sunbird as well, the last Sunbird release from us as previously announced.

Now what’s holding it up? The answers are: technical stuff and real life. To elaborate more, we’re still having problems to produce the Sunbird 1.0 beta1 release builds in all our supported locales. The only two people who could fix that (Philipp and Gozer) are either too busy because they have to learn for their university exams (Philipp) or too busy, because they have to work on getting other (higher priority) releases out of the door (Lanika 3.1 alpha1 and Thunderbird 3.0.2).

The good news is that Philipp’s exams will be done in the coming week and Gozer’s main time consumer is either already done (Lanikai 3.1 alpha1) or will be done from his side in the coming week (Thunderbird 3.0.2). So expect a Sunbird release shortly thereafter.

Dec 09

Questions and answers for the Lightning 1.0 beta1 release candidate

Since my announcement, that we’ve released a first release candidate of Lightning 1.0 beta1, there have been a few questions here in the comments, which I’d like to address:

  • I am getting this error when trying to install Lightning: “Lightning 1.0b1 could not be installed because it is not compatible with Firefox 3.5.6.” What’s wrong?
    This happens when you just click on the link to the Lightning add-on file in the announcement post in Firefox. Firefox is unable to distinguish between add-ons designed for Firefox and add-ons designed for other Mozilla applications. Please make sure, that you right-click on the link to the add-on file and choose “Save Link as…”. After that follow step 2-4 in the announcement post.

  • The Google Calendar Provider add-on from the links in the announcement post gives the following error message: “0.6b1 requires additional items”. What’s wrong?
    This is a known bug and will be fixed shortly.

  • Are 64bit builds for Linux available?
    Not yet, but our lead developer Philipp Kewisch is in the process of creating them and will post an announcement here on the blog once he’s finished.

  • Does the lightning-all.xpi file contain all localizations, and does the lightning.xpi in the en-US folder contain only the English strings?

  • Will this release candidate build automatically update itself to the final version of Lightning 1.0 beta1?
    No. Once Lightning 1.0 beta1 is released in its final form, we will make it available on addons.mozilla.org. You will need to download it again then.

  • I have an error “An error was encountered preparing the calendar located at moz-profile-calendar:// for use. It will not be available.” I cannot create events or tasks. What can I do to fix this?
    Please take a look at this blog post here.

  • There’s no release candidate for Sunbird yet. When will that be available?
    As said in the earlier post we are having problems with our Sunbird build machines. Once those are fixed, we will make a release candidate for Sunbird available.

I hope that answers most of your questions.

Dec 09

Lightning 1.0beta1 release candidate is available

After all the trouble that we went through to prepare the Lightning and Sunbird builds for 1.0 beta1 (see Philipp’s posts here and here, we have finally succeeded (at least on the Lightning front).

Candidate builds for Lightning 1.0 beta1 in 37 languages are available as of now for:

A corresponding build of the Google Calendar Provider is also available at those locations.

To install these builds in Thunderbird 3, please follow these steps:

  1. Download the build for your operating system to a folder on your hard disk
    UPDATE: Please make sure, that you right-click on the links above and choose “Save Link as…”. Otherwise Firefox will try to install Lightning and you will get an error message like “Lightning 1.0b1 could not be installed because it is not compatible with Firefox.”
  2. Open Thunderbird, then open its add-on manager via Tools –> Add-ons (or the corresponding entry in your language)
  3. Click on the “Install…” button on the lower left and navigate for the lightning.xpi file that you just downloaded.
  4. Restart Thunderbird after the add-on installation has been performed. Voila!

What is missing right now are two things:

  • Linux builds for the x86-64 platform. We need someone from the community to provide those to us. Please contact our lead developer Philipp Kewisch (contact details are available here) if you can help out.
  • Sunbird builds. We still have problems with those but hope tho have those fixed before Christmas. Watch this space for more information.

Please tell us what you think of these candidate builds and file bugs in Bugzilla as you go.

Dec 09

Release Status – Lightning for Thunderbird 3

I’d like to give you guys another update of how our release process is going, especially since Thunderbird 3.0 is now released and we are not ready yet. To take the interesting details up front, I believe we will be able to release rc1 before Christmas. If no urgent issues show up, we will be able to release the 1.0b1 final for or shortly after Christmas. This release will be compatible with Thunderbird 3.0.

From the product point of view, we are ready. We have all the patches in that we think should belong in 1.0b1rc1. Therefore, the nightly builds should be of the same quality that the release candidate 1 will be.

If you cannot do without Thunderbird 3 and are brave enough to try pre-release grade builds, I’d suggest to take a look at our nightly builds. Be sure to do backups first though! Otherwise please bear with us until we have the beta released and stay with Thunderbird 2 in the meanwhile.

From the release engineering point of view, we are constantly running into Problems. I believe the biggest and most unsolvable problem is that I am in a different timezone than Mozilla Messaging’s release engineering, which means there is only a small timeframe where we can communicate about build issues. All other problems are at least solvable, but need some time to identify and find a solution for. Each attempt for building the release candidate has a build number. Let me summarize what happened during our builds:

Various problems before we could start building, including but not limited to missing access and l10n problems.
Build system problems caused first mac/win32 to fail, then linux/mac to fail, and so on. The reason was that a script only used for calendar was called with the wrong path, but only in the rare case that the build is called with the packaging target needed for the release.
We noticed, that Thunderbird 3.0 has some storage changes that are not on the normal 1.9.1 branches, so we needed to make sure the calendar release branch is based off of the Thunderbird 3.0 release branch.
Lightning version number was incorrect, the version bump script doesn’t take care of install.rdf changes
Mac’s lightning.xpi is not universal, which means we need to respin. Also checked in some last minute caldav and wcap patches we probably would have taken for rc2 anyway.
Normal Sunbird builds succeeded, localization repack failed. I hope gozer knows why this is happening and can tell us tomorrow.

Another “problem” is that gozer needs to trigger and upload the Lightning builds manually, which also takes extra time once for each build. I do hope we can finish off the last problems soon. I’d like to again note that next time around this process will be much shorter. We don’t need to fix the small build system issues, all we need to do is update the release config and trigger a build.

Dec 09

1.0 Beta 1 Progress

We are working hard on getting the first release candidate for Sunbird and Lightning 1.0 Beta 1 out and since our nightly testers have surely noticed that the latest nightlies have been named “1.0b1pre” I wanted to give a short update.

We have been working on releasing the beta since last Wednesday. To make releasing easier, we have decided to make use of the Thunderbird release automation scripts. This is also the reason the version number changed to 1.0b1pre. Since the directory structure of Calendar is a bit different to what Thunderbird and Firefox use, we had some complications that need to be mangled out first. Unfortunately, building is a lengthy process (it takes a while until we are able to find out what went wrong) and Mozilla Messaging’s Release Engineering is in a different timezone (6 hours difference), things are taking a bit longer than I anticipated.

Nevertheless, I am confident that we will be able to publish our release candidate in the next week, and depending on if we find further blocking issues or not, release 1.0 Beta 1 in the next 2-3 weeks. Also, for the next release the process should be much quicker since we’ve now had the time to take care of the one-time issues (missing access, minor bugs in our build system, etc.)

Update: Linux and Windows builds of RC1 have succeeded! The fix for Mac is on its way, we now just need to take care of some branching issues and let the Mac box build.

Nov 09

[November 24, 2009] Lightning/Sunbird Status Update

Finally another status update. We’re down to zero (0) blockers for our upcoming beta release. It’s taken us some time to prepare all the necessary release bits for various reasons:

  • We’ve decided to pull bug 529326 into this release, because we hope that it will significantly improve the performance for all our users, that use the local (storage) calendar. That bug was fixed today.
  • We’ve started our outreach into the localizer community to get everyone onboard
  • Our lead developer Philipp basically has to learn all the stuff that’s needed for a release from the release engineering side on-the-fly. In the past we always had a dedicated release engineer who did this for us.

So please be patient and bear with us. The release is coming :-)

Since the last status update seven weeks ago, a number of bugs were fixed. Here’s the list of the 35 bugs that were fixed since the last status update:

  • Bug 298097: Rename calIRecurrenceRule endDate to untilDate
  • Bug 350845: Implement relevant parameter methods (enumerate, exists, set)
  • Bug 367359: Attendees Dialog: Zoom buttons don’t work
  • Bug 392194: Incorrect time and shadow is shown when draging an event in week/day view
  • Bug 392734: Event dialog: start/end time get lost if ‘all day event’ is ticked/de-ticked once
  • Bug 411540: No dialog asking to save event if mouse is used to quit Calendar
  • Bug 413799: Thailand Holidays 2009-2011
  • Bug 413847: Timezone preference changes require restart to take effect
  • Bug 466938: Strange dump statements
  • Bug 468846: Recurring all day event -> duplicate event created after editing a single all day event
  • Bug 470430: Upgrade 0.3.1 to 0.9/1.0pre fails
  • Bug 484089: Google Calendar fails in Shredder 3.0b3pre if a master password is set
  • Bug 493304: Scrolling more than necessary to bottom needs hidden upscroll until pane scrolls again
  • Bug 494140: Multiple reminders,relations,attachments created by modifying repeating event
  • Bug 504029: installer has to consider new mozjs.dll for mozilla-central
  • Bug 512436: Unconditional removal of ‘disabled’ state
  • Bug 517700: Lightning Categories Pref pane not showing any categories
  • Bug 517757: Small calendar-statusbar.js cleanup
  • Bug 517805: Move printDialog to calendar/base/content
  • Bug 517979: Links for contributed Lightning 0.9 builds are broken
  • Bug 518865: Calendar Properties item missing from the SeaMonkey Edit menu
  • Bug 521815: Fix a few provider warnings
  • Bug 522125: List all tabs dropdown is empty with Lightning installed
  • Bug 523621: Update internal timezone database to version 2009p
  • Bug 523943: Timezones Definitions needs SeaMonkey minimum correcting
  • Bug 523987: Dismissing alarms doesn’t work with Provider for Google Calendar
  • Bug 526172: Rename communicator-overlay-preferences.xul
  • Bug 526264: ‘No timezones found’ error during startup, calendars not visible
  • Bug 527057: Port bug 519357 – Only load known binary components from app directory to comm-central
  • Bug 527065: Create Lightning build servers for comm-central/mozilla-central repo
  • Bug 528506: In SeaMonkey Account Central pane, the “create new calendar” icon is misaligned
  • Bug 528540: Adjust version numbers to distinguish builds from comm-1.9.1/comm-central
  • Bug 528788: Feed the crowds, fix Calendar breadcrumbs
  • Bug 529326: Create indexes for the local calendar cache
  • Bug 529945: Build problems on Linux and W32

As always, our thanks go to all developers, contributors, localizers, testers, and supporters that have made this possible.